how to build calf muscles

How to Build Calf Muscles: The 4 Best Calf Exercises for Mass

How to build calf muscles is a good question! Is it true that calves are the most stubborn muscles on our body? No, this is an invention of amateurs!

The shorts are sometimes referred to as the men’s miniskirt. Due to the fact that they give rise to a similar problem: they make their owner seriously think about how his lower limbs look. In particular, the volume of the calf muscles, thanks to the shorts, acquires no less sharpness for the bodybuilder than the volume of the biceps.

And the point here is not even a simple shortage of centimeters! Weak calves devalue your efforts to pump that same bicep! Agree, a swinging upper body on a foundation of skinny calf muscles looks cartoonish! So which do you choose? Steaming in jeans or getting a pair of diamonds in your crown in a matter of months?

Calves do not require wear and tear. 15 minutes of hard, stubborn work 3-5 times a week is quite enough. However, the most strenuous workouts will not pay off if you ignore the main condition for success – maximum amplitude in each repetition!

Yes, take a car on your shoulders, but your calf muscles will not increase their volume one iota if the amplitude of the toes lifts is partial! It is precisely this kind of technical error that is the main reason for failure. (And not at all a lack of persistence and will, as many think.)

So, you need to climb on your toes as high as possible. In the final position, you should be like a ballerina on pointe shoes! But this is only half the battle! Before starting the rep, you should lower your heels to the floor, but harder so that each of your calves is pulled like a tight string! Only then will the “scope” of the rise become, indeed, the maximum!

Teach yourself to get high from the widest trajectory of each rep and consider that you have predetermined the outcome of your fight for the champion calves! These muscles already work in partial amplitude when walking and running, so they will not be surprised by such work, even if it is very intense. Calf muscles training once again confirms the old rule: extraordinary paths lead to everything extraordinary!

Start by exercising your calves three times a week, resting at least 48 hours. After a couple of weeks, throw in one extra workout, well, after a month and a half, switch to calves training 5 times a week. Stop when the volume of your calf muscles exceeds 50 cm!

best calf exercises for mass

The 4 Best Calf Exercises for Mass

1. Seated Calf Raise Machine

Place your knees under the support pads. Release the movable arm stop and place the weight on your feet. First, lower your heels to the floor as low as possible. Feel the strong stretching of the calf muscles and remember this sensation well. It is with this feeling that you should start every repetition, even if you are extremely tired! Next, rise on your toes as high as possible.


  • The support pad should fit exactly over your knee joints. Shifting the support towards the middle of the thighs reduces the amplitude of the lifts.
  • Keep the body upright. Do not inadvertently tilt the body back when performing the final reps. This reduces the stress on the calf muscles.

2. Standing Calf Raise Machine

Sit under the shoulder rests, and then straighten and take on the weight of the weights. Remove the safety stops and release the movable mechanism of the simulator. First, lower your heels down until you feel the strongest stretching of the calf muscles, then lift yourself up on your toes. As high as possible! At the top of the climbs, pause briefly to extend the peak voltage of the calves. Descend to the bottom position with emphatic slowness and control.


  • A common mistake is using excessive weight. Excessive load will force you to limit the amplitude of the climbs, but this will devalue all your efforts. Choose a medium level of resistance to maximize the amplitude of each repetition.
  • This exercise is extremely convenient for performing drop sets. If you are set for a serious result, ask your partner to rearrange the retaining pin for you. This will help you maintain the highest degree of concentration.

Do 12-15 perfectly technical reps to failure, then complete them with drop sets.

3. Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine

Set the platform at the height you need using the safety stops and rest on its lower edge with your toes. Unlike the leg press before starting the toe press, never free the platform by removing the safety stops! This is extremely dangerous!

Before starting the rep, lower the platform on your toes as low as possible to extend the calf muscles. Next, squeeze the platform with your toes as high as possible. Feel the limiting contraction of the calves and return to the starting position in a controlled manner.


  • In the second set, spread the socks apart to increase the load on the inner calf muscles. In the third set, fold your socks together. This will increase the impact on the outer area of the calves.
  • It is not easy to keep the knees open during the toe press. To help yourself on the final reps, press down on your knees with your palms. This will help fix the knee joints.

4. Bent-Over Calf Raise Machine

For this exercise, you need a special machine. It helps to apply critical loads without any risk of dangerously overloading the lower back.

Set the movable pillow at a comfortable height and sit under it with the back of your pelvis propped up. Next, straighten your knees and take the weight of the burden on yourself. Perform reps at maximum amplitude, no matter how difficult it is for you!


  • If the club does not find the equipment you need, replace the exercise with one-leg raises with dumbbells. Or ask your partner to “straddle” you, sitting on the pelvic area.
  • This exercise is especially useful for focusing with one leg. This is sometimes necessary to correct too much natural imbalance between the calves.

Do 12-15 reps first, and then do the rest of the reps with a rest-pause technique.

calves workout routine

Calves Workout Routine

Exercises Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise Machine 3 10-15
Standing Calf Raise Machine 3 30*
Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine 3** 15-20
Bent-Over Calf Raise Machine 50***

* Perform maximum lifts with moderate weight at full amplitude, and then drop the weight until you have completed all 30 reps.

** Perform the first set with your feet parallel. In the second set, part the socks, in the third, flatten.

*** Perform 50 rest-pause reps, trying to do as few intermediate sets as possible.


  • Rest between sets of calf raises for at least 30-60 seconds. Rest for 1-1.5 minutes between exercises.
  • Do the exercises one by one at the end of your core workout, or “insert” calf muscle exercises between core exercises.
  • Don’t train calves right before a hard leg workout.